Successful Grocery Store Food Drive The Day to Serve
By Cari B. Clark
Members of local congregations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) were honoring the 2013 Day of Service by collecting food donations at area Giant, Safeway, and Shoppers Food Warehouse stores on Saturday, September 21st.
Bob McDonnell, governor of Virginia, officially declared September 15-29, 2013 a time for all citizens to give a Day of Service to help the needy throughout the Commonwealth. This year’s theme was “Help the Hungry, Heal the Planet.”
Despite being an area known for high incomes, Fairfax County has a number of citizens who are unable to make ends meet, and many are served by local charities and food pantries, which provide food to needy families and individuals.
LDS Ward collected 220 bags of food, which were delivered to ECHO (Ecumenical Community for Helping Others). Over 600 people received flyers listing what items the food banks need as they entered Giant Food store in the Kingstowne neighborhood of Alexandria. Many people donated, glad to extend a helping hand and to participate in the community food drive.
In total, there were 138 adults and 60 youth who participated in the food drive at the participating grocery stores. 487 man-hours were donated. “16,600 pounds of food were collected this year,” says Karma McLeskey, a member of the Burke Ward of the LDS Church, and the person who spearheaded the grocery store food drive. While cash donations were not solicited, $911.00 was received in cash and gift cards for ECHO, ACCA (Annandale Christian Community for Action), and Our Daily Bread (ODB).
A volunteer commented, “One woman came out of the store after all of our volunteers had left, so she took her donation ($100 in gift cards) to Our Daily Bread herself.” Another said, “It was amazing to see people come out of the stores with multiple bags full of groceries for these needy families.”
Richard Magleby of the Annandale LDS ward noted, “Volunteers were rewarded by their experiences with donors. One was with a very old lady with a walker, hardly able to move. Volunteers debated whether to approach her with a food drive flyer, but did. The lady took the flyer and proceeded into the store. About an hour later she emerged, this time with three bags hanging on her walker, two of which she gave us for a donation. With tears in our eyes we said our thanks, gave her a hug and offered to help her with the remaining bag. She declined and continued on her way.”
Christina Garris of Our Daily Bread thanked members of the Fairfax LDS Ward,
“I just wanted to thank you again for organizing the food gift card drive at Giant. We had an emergency food request the day you dropped off the food and I was thrilled with all the options we had for the client.” ODB received 543 pounds of food valued at over $900 and $590 in gift cards.
Of course, donations are always welcome at these local food pantries. For more information, see the links below: